Name: Julianna Lucita Dagan de Avare
Height: 5’11” (1.78 m)
Weight: 160 lbs. (72.5 kg)
Social Status: Warrior of Fire of the Sanctus Ignis, hereditary home of the Avare family, Fire Elemental Bloodline. She is also on record as being a lady within the bounds of the Dagan family of the Dark Elemental Bloodline, though she is not formally acknowledged.
Alignment: Fire Elemental Spirit, though some question whether the spirit of Dark has some sway over her.
Weapon(s): An unornamented sword crafted of mithril. It is approximately four feet (1.2 m) in length, including the leather-wrapped hilt of a length appropriate for two-handed use. While both blade and cross guard are plain, it is a finely-crafted weapon, if not somewhat antiquated. The leather is somewhat faded and worn, but secure. The sword belt and sheath are made of the same leather, though of richer color and less careworn. A small dagger is strapped to the sheath. She was awarded the sword for winning the Fire’s-Day tourney in the year of her acceptance into the order.
Physical Description: Tall and trim, Julia could be mistaken for a dancer if it were not for the fierce light in her eyes and the cold expression on her face. Her body is lean and muscled from long hours of physical activity, with long graceful limbs. Her face is oval-shaped to a degree, with a firm jawline and high cheekbones. Her nose is small but straight, lips neither too thin nor too full. Some have called it pretty, and when she has occasion to smile, it is. A faint scar goes across her right cheekbone from her hairline down to the middle of her cheek. Another two criss-cross under her chin. Her darkly tanned skin also has scars elsewhere, predominantly on her slender hands, shins, and forearms, with one on her left hip.
Julia has dark brown eyes that border on black in certain light, and they are set at a slight angle in her face. Framed by discreet lashes, they appear to be ever-watching, taking in the environment around her. They are also very expressive, and are the truest sources to understanding what mood she’s in.
She keeps her equally-dark brown hair boyishly short. Her tapered bangs barely reach her eyebrows, and the rest is almost shaggy but not. It looks in need of a trim, but not out of order or messy. Her hair takes reddish highlights when exposed to too much sun. Her eyebrows arch naturally, and she does little to maintain them.
Her voice is usually low, with a faint accent to her clipped Hyphotian tone. It’s flat and monotone, unless she’s around close company or very emotional. She has a very good singing voice, oddly enough, a strong contralto.
Personality: Outwardly, Julia is cold and completely focused. She is steadfast and immovable when she knows something is wholly truth. She is intelligent and insightful, but is prone to moments of pigheadedness and being narrow-minded. She has a high set of standards for herself, and expects other people to have the same kind of standards for themselves. Her sense of moral behavior is unwavering, and she looks down on others who live more hedonistic lives. Her faith in [the Eternal Flame] is unwavering, and she knows that [He] believes as strongly in her; why else would [He] have allowed her to become one of [His] paladins?
Stoicism and seeming-frigidity aside, Julia does bear a sense of compassion and a kind heart. She has merely never learned how to express the softer emotions of the human heart. Time has taught her to rely only on herself, and she’s been burned too often by individuals she was meant to love. However, the weak, infirm or oppressed are more easily witness to the gentler side of the paladin, especially children. She seems to have a great affinity with them, and they usually feel safe around her. Julia is intolerant to cruelty, abusive behavior of any kind, and heavy doses of arrogance. She is also victim to a quick-fire temper, which she has managed to leash somewhat. When pushed to anger, she is less likely to think before she speaks. She can be brutally rude, and borders on unabashed tactlessness. She is honest, though, and never lies unless it is unavoidable.
Julia is also desperately seeking acceptance. Most of the important things she does is focused on proving to someone/thing that she is of value. Her treatment at the hands of her mother, and her rocky relationship with her father’s family, has left her emotionally muddied; while she logically knows she should only worry about making herself happy, and promoting the faith of her Spirit, Julia is still a lost little girl shoved into a world she doesn’t understand. Her icy, arrogant front is a well-cultivated shield against the whispers and disapproving looks of the people around her. It hides a lot of the brittleness inside her heart. While acceptance by Fire has soothed some of those pains, she still wishes that other people would accept her for what she is, not what blood she bears.
In battle, Julia is relentless, strategic and holds no quarter. She follows orders to the final letter, though if she heavily disagrees with them she will question them. If ordered not to kill, she will immobilize her target however she can – she prefers not killing opponents where possible. She is honorable, and will accept a fair battle when presented. She has no gender distinction, and treats enemies of either gender the same. Her sense of honor has earned her an arrow to the hip, which left her with a violent attitude against archers, which is only lessened if they are allied to her cause.
History: Katerina Esmerelda Dagan was a spirited girl, related by blood to the ruling family of Hyphos, the Mournays. While skilled in magic, she decided to turn her talents to the arts, and became one of Deinos’ most accomplished singers. Her voice and graceful dancing was boasted at the Palace during many special events, and Katerina loved the spotlight. She also had a lust for power, and would take it any way she can, which earned her a reputation as an exemplary courtesan as well as entertainer. She began to travel Gaia, seducing men and laughing all the while.
Dominic Alaric Avare was the third son of the aristocratic Avare family, and was related by blood to the rulers of [Fire nation’s name here]. His oldest brother was a minister to the [Ruler] of [nation]; the second eldest was a Fire mage of some repute. Dominic himself was newly sworn into the order of the [Eternal Flame’s] holy warriors, and was earning a reputation as an expert swordsman. Young and exuberant, he was a man whose passion ran as hot as the Spirit he served.
Katerina and Dominic crossed paths during a summer festival held in [Fire nation’s capital city], and Dominic immediately fell in love. He courted the exotic young woman with all his heart, and she appeared to reciprocate. Until one morning, Dominic woke to find himself alone, and devoid of his funds. Heartbroken and humiliated, hatred soon replaced the love he felt.
Katerina made her way back to Deinos, and shortly thereafter discovered she was pregnant. The mystery of motherhood appealed to her, and she decided to keep the child and try her hand at being a doting mother. She had a daughter, and named her Julianna Lucita. Glowing with the newfound joy, Katerina lived for her child.
However, after four years she began to tire of it, and when the attentions of a wealthy nobleman were directed her way, she persued them, leaving Julianna with her nursemaid Dulcinea. The nobleman was willing to give Katerina all he had, but he refused until she would be rid of her daughter. Quick to accept, Katerina sent Dulcinea and the little girl off to [Fire nation’s capital city], bearing a letter for Dominic.
Nursemaid and girl were cordially received, but newly-wed Dominic refused to acknowledge the daughter the letter claimed she was. It was through the intercession of Dominic’s mother and new bride, oddly enough, that kept nursemaid and girl within Sanctus Ignis. Dominic accepted their ruling, but gave the little girl the cold shoulder whenever she was around. Hurt and thrown into a strange world she didn’t understand, Julianna clung to Dulcinea for support, until the maid eloped with a young guardsman.
Dominic’s young wife, Angeline, readily stepped forward to care for the girl. Angeline had been the one to tell the girl that she would likely never see her mother again, though it broke the girl’s heart. The two came to love each other, though, much to Dominic’s disgust. Even when Angeline bore two sons for Dominic, Julianna always had a special place in her heart.
Julianna blossomed from an adorable child to an adolescent with much promise. She enjoyed her lessons with the piano and embroidery and all the other acceptable lady’s work, but could never stop herself from staring longingly at the courtyards where the guards and paladin-aspirants practiced. She would often find herself watching them for hours at a time, sneaking away from her other lessons when she could.
Angeline’s death from childbed complications changed everything. Dominic turned his misery and pain into anger directed at his b*****d daughter; Julianna turned hers into a scathing distain for anything weak and too feminine. She began avoiding lessons for weeks at a time, practicing with a sword in secret. It was in defense of a young boy fostering at the Sanctus Ignis where her secret was uncovered – before a bullying, older fosterling could deliver an unnecessary blow, Julianna intercepted. With a parry directly from the style her father Dominic had mastered, the girl deflected the blow and struck back. Shocked, the older boy was actually losing before he could regain his wits. An instructor managed to fight his way through the collected students to break up the fight, but not before the older boy delivered a slash that cut Julianna’s face badly.
Dominic had been watching, and instead of reprimanding his b*****d daughter for her behavior – as he would have done normally – he exacted a harsh punishment on the older boy, and curtly ordered for the girl to begin training. Loathe to admit it, Dominic had been impressed.
Julianna began her training, and though she started much later than usual, became an exemplary fighter. In two short years, she caught up to the other teens her age in training, and surpassed them in a shorter span. She had managed, via observation, to pick up her father’s style of fighting, and was on her way to mastering it. By the time she was twenty and pledging her sword to the [Eternal Flame], it was widely acknowledged at Sanctus Ignis that daughter was only second to father. She was looked upon with pride, though her father still remained aloof in her presence. Her half-brothers Thomas and Frederick were proudest of her, and the siblings could often be seen sparring in the main yards, laughing.
The young woman even made the rank of Crusader in a short time; it did not last long. In exercising of one of her Fire-bestowed powers, witnesses reported that instead of the crimson licks typically associated with Fire-Paladins, Julianna’s was black. The story spread and grew, and soon people began whispering and questioning the girl’s loyalties. Black? Wasn’t that a sign of [the Dark Elemental]? A debate raged in the upper echelons of the [Eternal Flame’s] warriors, and it was Dominic’s strength and faith in his daughter that kept the girl from being repudiated from the order. Dropped back to the lowest rank, Julianna was crushed. Only her half-brothers and father stayed on her side, it seemed, and while they fought for her name, Julianna needed to fight for herself. Taking only her armor, sword and horse, she left [Fire nation’s capital city] to find her way in Gaia.
She attached herself to a mercenary company based in Hyouto named Rao’s Raiders, and began earning herself a reputation as a brutal, if honorable, fighter. She declined several promotions within the cavalry, remaining a respected, if solitary, member of the band. Julia has remained with the Raiders for the past two years.
The clash of steel was accompanied by cheers and shouts. The two fighters circled one another before meeting again with a flurry of blows that either missed or were parried. It was obvious to any observer the more skilled of the two was the slimmer form, dodging and twisting away from the increasingly-clumsy blows from the bulkier fighter. Whistles and catcalls brought out laughter, which seemed to give the broader fighter a renewed vigor. His swings became stronger, more vicious, and what had seemed a game became very real.
The circle of watchers grew quieter, and anxious eyes fixated on the fighters. The sound of swords crashing together became faster, harsher, directing the attentions of others passing through the practice yard.
“Praxis, settle down!” Thomas shouted, but the armored fighter carried on, swinging his huge blade with fury. He swung wide and missed, then turned his blade to drive a stab at his opponent.
The slender fighter avoided the first, but parried the second. Blade slid along blade, but a twist sent the larger sword from Praxis’ hands, sailing across the dirt to clatter at the feet of two of the youngest boys watching.
Helmeted fighters fought for air, the winner holding their blade at the neck of Praxis.
“Yield.” Julia said, voice muffled by her visor.
“b***h of a b*****d,” the young man hissed. He was, however, lowering his hands in submission.
Julia was on him in a flash, the butt of her hilt slammed into the side of his helmet. The hit knocked the young man onto his back. Thomas and another boy were on Julia, holding her back.
“Get back up!” She shouted. “Get back up and fight, you cur dog!”
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